How To Avoid Copyright Infringement

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How To Avoid Copyright Infringement—A Useful Guide

Knowing how copyright works is crucial for owning intellectual property. It is important to know how to copyright your work, claim it, and how copyright laws can protect it. You can collect every piece of information about fighting copyright infringement, but are there any tips to steer clear of causing it?

Understand Copyright Laws and What They Protect

Copyright laws, such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), are established to protect the copyright owner’s exclusive rights. With the rights granted by the U.S. Copyright Act of 1996, rightsholders can:

  • Make copies of the original work
  • Prepare derivative works based on the original
  • Distribute copies by renting, selling, or lending
  • Display the work in public
  • Perform the work in public

The DMCA—the act established to modernize copyright laws addressing online copyright issues—implements two treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The DMCA protection is twofold as it applies to both copyright owners and websites that can serve as platforms for infringing.

To avoid copyright infringement, learn what can be a subject of such a violation.

Several types of content can be copyrighted and, consequently, be the target of copyright violation:

  • Literary, musical, and dramatic works
  • Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural creations
  • Sound recordings
  • Movies and other audio-visual content
  • Computer programs
  • Architectural works
  • Pantomimes and choreographies

Look Into What Counts as Copyright Infringement

Any time you use someone’s original work without permission, you are committing a copyright violation.

You can use the provided examples as guidance:

  • Recording movies in a theater
  • Downloading music and movies from pirate websites
  • Using photos without the permission of the photographer
  • Copying books without permission
  • Using software code without giving credit to the creator
  • Streaming TV shows online without the proper payment

Types of Copyright Infringement

Understanding copyright infringement and its various forms can be invaluable. You can see a brief explanation of each type in the table below:

Copyright Infringement TypeWhat It Refers To


It is a less-known type of infringement, and it considers the forwarding or printing of emails without permission of the sender.

Some emails can include a copyright notice, so you should always check for that

File Sharing

Uploading files to an online platform where anybody can use and copy them. The same goes for downloading


Posting content on a private or public network for others to use it, even if you acquired content legally

Photocopying and Scanning

Copying and pasting original content without the owner’s permission


Taking someone’s original to make copies and sell

Explore the Fair Use Exceptions

Fair use is the U.S. copyright law’s doctrine that allows the use of copyrighted material without permission of the original creator or copyright owner.

The role of fair use is to create a balance between the exclusive rights of the owners and the general public, and it is mainly used for educational purposes. Here is what qualifies for fair use:

  • Parody
  • Criticism
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Commentary
  • News reporting

Keep in mind that, although it is a defense in copyright infringement cases, fair use is considered to be a gray area since the intent of the user cannot always be strictly determined.

What Happens When You Infringe a Copyright?

The first step in dealing with copyright infringements is filing the DMCA takedown notice. If you violated someone’s copyrights, don’t be surprised if you get a DMCA notice.

The DMCA takedown notice enables the owner to take down the stolen content from the website where it appeared. It can come directly from owners, attorneys, or online service providers.

The notice should:

  1. Identify the infringing content so you could determine if the infringement exists
  2. Show proof of the copyright ownership

Whether you agree that the infringement exists or you have proof that it doesn’t, you should reply to the notice. Failing to do so can result in a lawsuit.

penalties for copyright infringement may be civil, criminal, or result in reputational damages. They include:

  • Statutory damages ranging from $750 to $30,000 per work
  • Civil penalties up to $150,000 if infringement proves to be intentional
  • Criminal penalties up to $250,000 per offense or to five years in prison

Tips for Avoiding Copyright Violations

Copyright infringement is a much bigger issue than it seems, and you should always take precautions when dealing with someone else’s work. Here are some additional measures to make sure you are not unintentionally stealing someone’s content:

  • Read the terms of use carefully
  • Seek permission from the copyright owner
  • Check copyright/licensing terms. Sometimes you can find permission to copy the content
  • Cite sources and give credit where it’s due
  • If you have any doubts, ask a professional
  • Use plagiarism checkers when writing an essay or article

Keep Your Mind at Ease and Your Work Protected With DoNotPay

If you are on the other end of copyright infringement and someone used your work as their own, you should be the one filing a takedown notice. We happen to have the most practical feature for doing that.

There is no need for hiring assistance or doing research on the topic. We have all the work cut out for you.

Log in to DoNotPay from your and file a DMCA takedown notice in under a minute, following these steps:

  1. Select the DMCA Takedown feature on our main page
  2. Type the name of the original work and add a description
  3. Enter the link of the original work
  4. Add the stolen content’s link
  5. Confirm provided information and your identity
  6. Click the Sign and Submit button

You can monitor the progress of the takedown in the My Disputes tab after we file the copyright infringement notice on your behalf. One of the benefits of using DoNotPay is that you can file unlimited amounts of takedown notices.

Keep in mind that the other party might want to file a counter-notice in case you don’t have proof of ownership or if they believe that the infringement didn’t take place.

DoNotPay Helps You Find Solutions for All Your Problems

We can give you all the answers, from how long copyright lasts and how to write a copyright notice to how to report copyright infringement on YouTube, Google, Instagram, or Amazon.

In case you want to start your business, we can give you some tips on how to avoid copyright infringement on t-shirts.

Aside from copyright-related complications, we are here to help you resolve tedious administrative issues.

Open DoNotPay in your preferred and check out how we can help you to:

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